WECC has a rich history of providing weatherization services for income qualified residents in Wisconsin. That's why we're excited about these two major milestones:
1. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)! Combined, our Residential Training and Technical Assistance team boasts more than 150 years of WAP experience (through work with WECC and a variety of other agencies across Wisconsin).
2. Sunday, October 30 is National Weatherization Day! WECC is lucky to have a highly-experienced, award-winning weatherization staff. We're extremely proud of our talented team of innovative experts!
Recently, we spoke with some of our most seasoned industry veterans to learn more about their work with WAP and the most important lessons they've learned throughout their weatherization careers.
Adrian has been involved with WAP for nearly 29 years. In that time, he says, the most dramatic change has been the shift in focus to building forensics and energy efficiency. “When I started, we would have a handwritten work order and a few tools,” he reflects. “We did the same thing on every house and didn’t think as much about building science. Today, we think a lot more about how to keep the building healthy.”
The crews Adrian worked with during his early years in the field developed many of the standardized methods used today. “As we went along, we learned what worked and what didn’t. We used a lot of trial and error. Now, those things we learned on the job are considered best practices.”
In the field, most of Adrian’s satisfaction came from a job well done and the knowledge that he was directly helping people. As a trainer, he enjoys knowing that he is contributing to the high-quality work done by weatherization agencies. “I love the moment when a concept suddenly clicks for a student, and I see that lightbulb go on,” he says.
Robert has worked with WAP for nearly 30 years, during which the improvements in technology have been profound. In particular, he feels that the introduction of the blower door was a game-changer for the program.
The blower door, which became more prevalent in the 1980s, creates a pressure differential between the interior and exterior of the home. This allows crews to quantify the amount of air movement and locate leaks, sealing homes more effectively.
When asked what advice he would give someone new to the weatherization field, Robert said, “It’s not just a job; it’s a career. Find the good that is coming out of your work, even if you’re doing dirty and grueling labor. Look for the parts that are rewarding.”
For Robert, that reward comes from seeing the positive impact that weatherization has on clients. “There were countless times that we helped an elderly person or a single mother,” he remembers. “Maybe all we did was change a lightbulb, but it made a huge difference in their life, not just their energy bill.”
Bob was hired by a weatherization agency in February 1978 as part of President Carter’s Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA). At the time, he was just happy to have a job. However, he loved the work right away, and found great satisfaction in a job well done.
For Bob, the most rewarding part of his long career is having been on the ground floor of innovation. The field of building science, while still young, has grown immensely during his time with WAP. “We started to gain a real understanding of the physics of air and heat. That understanding opened doors into new technologies and serious energy savings.”
One of Bob’s proudest moments was the first time he presented at a national conference. “I was happy to represent our program, but also to meet this entire network of people who do the same work,” he says. “There is a sense of collaborative learning in the industry. There’s no competition, because the new technologies and innovations benefit everybody.”
Cory began his career with WAP 20 years ago as an entry-level crew member. Today, he is a highly-respected expert in the field. “Weatherization is a place where you can advance your career, if you’re willing to put in the effort and take advantage of the trainings available,” Cory says. “Weatherization is a unique field, and I feel privileged to have had the opportunities I’ve had.”
Recently, Cory supported the development of WECC’s Quality Control Inspector Training – the first of WECC’s training programs to be accredited by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Helping students become certified as Quality Control Inspectors—a certification he was one of the first in the nation to earn—has been one of his greatest career accomplishments.
Cory’s favorite thing about being a trainer is hearing from students how helpful a course was and how much they learned. As an inspector, he is often able to see students’ quality work firsthand. He loves hearing from homeowners how happy they are and how much their energy bills have gone down. “Whether you’re helping a client or a student, you get to provide a service,” he says.